Wanna hear a story?
I got on a plane on Thursday morning, ready for an exciting trip with Jonathan’s family. We were headed to Colorado, to go skiing… something I had never experienced before. I had experienced snow and mountains, and I’d even been to Colorado before… but flying (okay, scooting) down those mountains on two skinny boards attached to my feet was a new thing. Also, I was going with my boyfriend and his family- his mom and dad (Mr. Joe & Mrs. Susan), and his brother, sister-in-law, and nephew (Jeremy, Jennifer, and Ian, who is 3). I like them a lot, but I figured that getting killed while on a trip with them would not be the best way to keep them fond of me, so I felt a bit of trepidation at the idea of skiing.
I left from Lexington, KY, and met up with Jonathan in Chicago; we were both flying into Denver from O’Hare- same flight, in seats next to each other. Perfect, huh?
Something you should know: I never, ever travel without something going wrong. A flight will be delayed (or canceled), luggage will get lost, or there may be a bomb threat in the airport… sometimes, the entire airport may get shut down due to a security breach (can I get an “amen,” Malawi team?!)
And so, it was with a sense of foreboding that I approached the baggage claim in the Mile-High City. Everything had gone way too well so far. I had even gotten window seats on both flights; something must have gone wrong with my luggage. We watched as suitcase after suitcase whirled by on the conveyer belt. Jonathan’s came within two minutes of our arrival. I waited on pins and needles, jumping every time a black bag emerged from that hole in the ground and fell out onto the belt- but none of them had a green ribbon, and none of them had my name on it. Upon investigation, Jonathan found that my suitcase had decided to hang out in Chicago for a little while without me, as I went ahead to Denver. Apparently it found some good friends among the luggage it encountered there, and felt the need to hang out with them for a bit (it must have been a cute little pink bag with a bow on it- I don’t know what else would have distracted it enough to keep it away from my flight). It would be delivered that night, however, to our house in Granby, CO.
We rented cars and headed for Granby; a couple of hours later, we arrived at “home.” A very enthusiastic man with an Indian accent called me up to let me know my suitcase would be delivered between 6:30 and 12:30 that night. Jonathan and I waited up on it, but by 1:30 it had not arrived, and we gave up hope and went to bed. My suitcase was obviously having a good time somewhere else, and it did not feel the need to find it’s way to me that night. However, by the time someone woke up at 6:30 the next morning, there it was on the porch, waiting for me, it’s green ribbon cheerful (but cold). My toothpaste was frozen, but everything else was intact.
Friday morning was The Morning… Skiing 101 for Lacey Hochstetler. I had a hard time finding boots to fit me properly. Apparently, my ankles are odd. However, once I found some that seemed like they might work, I strapped those boards onto my feet and slowly (I mean slowly) scooted my way out to the little lift, where Jonathan and I hopped on board with all the three-year-olds.
Yes, I fell my first time getting off the lift. But I want you to know, I didn’t fall the second time… or the third time… or the fourth time…
Also, I liked skiing, and I didn’t die my first time down the bunny slope. That gave me hope. After about 5 times of going down it, Jonathan deemed me ready to try one of the easy green slopes.
I did fine getting off the bigger lift. I did fine skiing down the hill. And, the two times I found myself careening towards trees and couldn’t remember how to turn suddenly, I did fine falling; I was a professional faller. The problem was getting back up. It’s difficult! As soon as I would have one ski on, that foot would want to slide out from under me. And as soon as I had both skis on, recovering my balance enough to turn around and face forward again was a feat. I made it down the hill, though… intact, miraculously.
Sadly, though, Jonathan was feeling sick, and had been all morning. He was so tired by lunch that he decided to skip the afternoon ski trip and take a nap. My ankles hurt so much and I was so tired that I decided to sleep, too, and then hang out a little bit with Ian.
Ian, by the way, is the definition of an outgoing three-year-old. He is not scared to speak his mind, and when he decides he wants something, he does all he can to get it. So, when he decided he wanted me, Jonathan had a fight on his hands.
At dinner Friday night, there were two empty seats around the table. One was next to me, and one was next to Ian… and Jonathan had yet to sit down.
“Sit by me!” Ian told him, glancing at me. “Sit by me!”
“I’m going to sit by Lacey,” Jonathan told him.
Ian stared Jonathan down. “NO, sit by ME!” He was determined to keep Jonathan away from me.
Jonathan, ignoring Ian’s menacing looks, sat by me. Then, to aggravate him further, he put his arm around me and gave Ian a smug look.
Ian glared, then, leaning back in his chair, he nodded. “I’ll fight you later!” he assured Jonathan.
I was feeling quite proud of my skiing accomplishments of the day. I had learned to stop and turn, which was really all I needed to get my Olympic medal, I figured. I was texting my roommate to tell her about my amazing new talents, because she had repeatedly reminded me not to come home hurt.
“Just remember,” she text me on Friday afternoon, “no Black Diamonds. Only diamonds on rings… those are okay.”
Whatever, I thought. That’s definitely not going to happen on this trip.
Saturday morning I tackled skiing again… and did quite well. I only had one minor incident, in fact. I came off the lift and tried to stop without “snowplowing”… and crashed into Jonathan. He punched me in the face and jammed my finger in an attempt to help me stop… no damage to my face, however. I cannot say the same for the finger, unfortunately.
I tackled the green hill repeatedly on Saturday and only fell twice- and when I did, they were epic, which made them worth it. No wimpy wipeouts here- we are talking getting air and then landing face-first. Good thing I was dressed like an Eskimo.
Saturday afternoon after lunch, however, I started out on the wrong foot. First, I made Ian upset with me because I left to ski with Jonathan rather than taking a nap with him. I should have known better. When I got off the first lift, I felt myself falling, but could do nothing about it. One leg went to the left, the other to the right, then twisted back to the left, and I was down. I felt my knee twist- not good, since I’ve already dealt with a lot of injuries in that knee. I limped my way down the mountain, only to discover that I could no longer stop properly… a serious problem. I ended up turning in my skies a couple hours early and then buying coffee at the lodge. I sat and drank my coffee and watched other skiers come down the mountain while I talked on the phone with my mom.
Saturday night was something I was really excited for. We had reservations at Sunspot, a restaurant 2 miles high, on top of a mountain. Jonathan wanted us to go up early so I could take some pictures of the sunset over the mountains. I was game. The whole family was able to get on the gondola up to the restaurant early, which was even more perfect, in my mind. The view as we went up was gorgeous… the mountains were absolutely glowing with the sunset.
The problem was that once we got to the top it was cold, and so windy I was afraid of falling off. I took off for the restaurant at full speed, stopping quickly to take one picture of Jonathan. He took off in the other direction, yelling for me to follow him.
No way. It was cold. I went inside, quickly.
The whole group made a trip to the bathrooms, and when I emerged, Jonathan grabbed my hand.
“Have you seen the big fireplace?” he asked.
“Come on! You have to see it!”
He pulled me in the direction of the dining area. “Why are we going now?” I asked. “We’re all coming over here in like two minutes.”
“Just come on!” he said.
And there it was… a gigantic fireplace, all warm and cozy, in the middle of the restaurant.
“Wow…” I said. “That’s a nice fireplace…” I turned to look at Jonathan, and my words definitely got stuck in my throat. I’ve always thought it was odd when people use that phrase, but I now know the feeling of the word “fireplace” actually lodging in your throat.
Jonathan was down on one knee.
Suddenly, the word came out of my throat.
Haha, I thought. He’s playing a prank. He thinks I’m going to think he’s proposing. Nice try.
But then something shiny caught my eye. Something very shiny, in a little box, in Jonathan’s hand. I stared at it, and I’m sure my eyes were as big as basketballs.
Wow, he really went all out on this joke.
“Will you marry me?” He asked.
I stared at him for a long time, processing. Then I said what seemed to be the obvious response.
“Are you joking?”
“Really. You are joking,” I told him.
“No, I’m NOT!”
I stared longer.
“Are you serious?”
I don’t know how long that went on. A good 15 seconds, I think. Finally, he stood up and grabbed my arm.
“WILL YOU JUST SAY YES?!?!?” He asked.
“Yes!” I said, and he was putting a ring on my finger.
A waiter who managed to get in on the whole thing walked up. “Have you seen the view from over here?” he asked, motioning to one side of the restaurant.
“No,” Jonathan told him. He led us over to a giant window overlooking the mountains, with a breathtaking view. I definitely didn’t need a breathtaking view right then… I was having trouble breathing already, and it wasn’t because I was 2 miles above sea level.
“You all can take as much time as you like,” said the waiter… “just keep it PG.”
After we stood there for a while and Jonathan assured me that he was, in fact, not playing a very detailed joke, we went to find his family… and we found not only them, but my parents as well… I don’t think I have ever been more dumbstruck in my life.
Jonathan had flown them in… they had arrived that afternoon, and my mother had been sitting in a coffee shop in Colorado when I talked to her on the phone that day. Jonathan had had it all figured out for weeks… can you say wonderful?
My parents, Mr. Joe, and Jeremy were all grinning like Cheshire cats. Mrs. Susan and Jennifer neither one knew Jonathan was going to propose, and were just as shocked to see my parents as I was… though they were less shocked to see a ring. Everyone was excited. Except Ian. He was just confused, and a little concerned that I was holding on to Jonathan’s hand so tightly.
“Do you know what this ring means?” I asked him.
“No…” he said, uncertainly.
As I tried to explain it to him it began to dawn on him that something significant had happened, and by the time we sat down at our table to eat, he was glaring at Jonathan like he had killed his dog (or stolen his girl).
I was in shock all night, and I still kind of am. It was a wonderful weekend, though. We quickly tried to do things like choose a date (9-10-11!), since we are about to be 600 miles apart again… It felt like we had a lot to talk about while we could still talk to each others’ faces. Details kept coming up that I realized I’d have to think about… like a dress. I did a Google search to see if I could find anything I liked while I was thinking about it, and while I still had both the mother and mother-in-law in one place.
“I don’t like you looking at that pretty white dress,” Ian told me. “Don’t buy it.”
My parents stayed with us in Granby, and then joined us for snowmobiling the next morning.
As we were getting ready to go snowmobiling, Ian approached me.
“Who are you going to ride with on the snowmobile?” he asked.
“Your Uncle Jonathan,” I told him.
“No,” he said, “You are my friend, so you can ride with my daddy and me.”
“I’m sorry,” I told him. “I’m going to ride with Jonathan.”
“Because you got that ring,” he said mournfully, looking at my finger.
“Yes, because I got the ring,” I told him.
“One day, I’m gonna get that ring from you, then I’m gonna take you for myself!” he announced.
“Yep, you better keep it in your pocket so I don’t get it!”
I suddenly understood how Sam felt when he knew Gollum was sneaking around waiting for the chance to steal the Ring.
So there you have it. I went to Colorado to ski, and came out with one bruise on my knee, one swollen finger, and a fiancé. I’m getting married. And I’m not letting the preacher give anyone the chance to object during the ceremony, because I’m afraid a three-year-old voice will take him up on the offer.
Ian & Jonathan ready for some fun
A gorgeous view! (Photo by Mrs. Susan)
(Photo by Mrs. Susan)
The view from the gondola on the way to Sunspot
On the way up (Yes, at this point, I am still clueless)
Right outside the restaurant
Right after he proposed! (Me, Jonathan, and my parents)
An unsure Ian
In front of “The Fireplace” =)